If you find the skin on your child’s neck and arms dirty, stained and patchy and doesn’t return to normal stage even after repeated cleaning and scrubbing, see a dermatologist immediately.Thick, Dark Skin Patches

Medically known as Acanthosis Nigricans, skin gets thicker and darker around areas of joints and folds like knuckles, armpits, elbows, knees, inner thighs, groins and neck.

Research suggests that children suffering from this skin condition, usually a metabolic disorder at the high risk of diabetes, at a later stage in life.

Though Acanthosis nigricans is not communicable or harmful, it is a warning sign of underlying health issues that require immediate medical attention. So, it is important to see a dermatologist if you notice an area of darker or thicker skin.

What Causes Acanthosis Nigricans

Insulin Resistance:

People with acanthosis nigricans become resistant to insulin secreted by the pancreas that allows the body to uptake glucose for energy. Insulin resistance in the long run progress to type 2 diabetes.

Hormonal Disorders

Acanthosis nigricans often seen in people with the polycystic ovarian disorder, thyroid issues or problems with adrenal glands.


Certain high dose medicine, birth control pills, steroids, corticosteroids and overdose of supplements may cause acanthosis nigricans.


Acanthosis may sometimes occur with lymphoma or when a tumour develops in an internal organ such as the stomach, colon or liver.


Treating the underlying issues can help reduce the discolouration. That include:


If obesity is the cause of acanthosis nigricans, then losing weight may help.

Avoiding medicine or supplements

If it is caused by the overdose of drugs or supplements, then your doctor may suggest you stop using them.


If the discoloration is triggered by a cancerous tumour, surgically removing the tumour clears up the skin.

Recommend Treatment:

  • Prescription creams to lighten the discolouration.
  • Use of antibacterial soaps, used gently as excessive scrubbing worsen the problem.
  • Oral acne medications
  • Laser therapy to reduce the skin's thickness